Former presidential candidate and longtime Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), on Tuesday introduced a massive bill in the U.S. Senate that would rebuild and modernize the infrastructures of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, a measure costing $146 billion.
The bill, which enjoys some Democratic support, would transform the territories’ energy, housing, education, agriculture, transportation and health care systems. It’s titled “The Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2017”, and its enactment would alleviate some of the most pressing issues that have long beset the islands.
The bill’s total sum of $146 billion would be segmented into three main categories: $62 billion would be granted to the governments of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to address their fiscal challenges; $51 billion for economic development and $27 billion for infrastructure projects, according to a summary of the bill, seen here.
A companion bill was expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives by Democratic Reps. Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.) and Darren Soto (Fla.) and USVI Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett. Mr. Sanders’s bill enjoys the support of some of his colleagues in the Senate, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), according to the Huffington Post.